Miniaturisation and consumerism

The other day the DVB-T receiver packed up.

After a bit of online price/features research, I took a drive to my favourite electronics store to pick up a replacement unit. It was then that I noticed how small the box it comes in was — which suits me just fine: same functions, similar features, smaller unit.

But it wasn’t until I got home and started hooking up the new unit that the size difference really became as apparent as this picture tries to do justice:

Medion MSH 2000 vs. Strong Prima IV

Not only is it about a sixth of the original unit’s size, it cost less than half the price: 29€ vs. the original’s 69€ (in 2004). Fits better onto the small bedroom TV, good reception (using the original aerial), and with the exception of a TOSLINK connector the new midget has all the connectivity I’d need. It’s barely wider than two SCART connectors side by side.

No user serviceable parts inside

I’m very curious to see how packed that little black box really is because the old Medion device’s box was rather… well, let’s call it “generous”. The power regulator occupied one little board and was just about the only part whose electronic components I could recognise as such. One SCART and an RS-232 connector sit on a daughter board hooked up the main board that contained the Philips RF unit (probably the part that failed). A Fujitsu MPEG decoder IC took up much of the rest of the space along with some other chip (presumably an EPROM) and a Hynix RAM chip. And that’s about it! As for most of the rest of the little black bumps connected by silver tracks, you can forget about trying to identify (let alone replace or repair) any of those components!

Let’s see how long this one’s gonna last.

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